Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering GED online services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some really great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he poses questions and seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question fro... > Read more
This morning, Chris Brogan wrote on his blog that he's planning to use Bing as his only search engine for 30 days. Day 1 of his little experiment didn't go so well—he found that a search for "Chris Brogan" returned, above his own blog, results for Chris Brown. His response? "Um, no." Chris Brogan is a pretty well-known name, if slightly lesser-known than "Chris Brown.
" If he can't get top billing for his vanity search, how well can the rest of us plebes fare? I "googled" myself on Bing back when it launched and remember thinking the results were inscrutable and disappointing. I decided to try the same search again to see if the Bing results had gotten better (or worse). Well, certainly not better. ZoomInfo? Really? I would only expect to see a crappy, generic result like this at #1... > Read more
Are you new to Twitter and unsure who to follow? Not so new to Twitter but still don't know who to follow? Or maybe you just want to make more connections, find new resources and learn from the best? Twitter lists are a great way to keep up with the search marketing industry. You can follow a whole swath of thought leaders, hand-picked and pre-approved by those in the know, with one quick click.
These 16 Twitter lists were curated by (and include) some of our favorite voices in search and online marketing. (And while you're at it, follow the WordStream list to keep up with our whole team.) Selective Search Marketing Twitter Lists These picky-choosy lists include fewer than 60 people or brands each. Aaron Bradley of SEOSkeptic.com's Internet Marketing Musts. Christine Churchill's Must Read... > Read more
As I flâneured around the blogosphere this week (permit me to verb a French noun derived from a verb), I was overcome by a gadget-induced ennui. Nexus One. The iTablet/iSlate. Blah blah blah. I have nothing to say about these developments. "Will 2010 be the year of the smartphone?" Who cares? Sorry, gadgetheads—not me so much.
I am, however, interested in other directions the industry may take in 2010. (And while we're on the topic, you are on board with saying "twenty-ten," foregoing the cumbersome "two-thousand" prefix, are you not? Excellent. Glad we're on the same page.) And luckily, bloggers are still churning out resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. I especially liked Debra Mastaler's Link Building Trends For 2010. After providing an overview of 2009, Debra, Julie Joyce... > Read more
This is a guest post by Shawn Livengood. Shawn Livengood is a search marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He is also pursuing his master’s degree in information architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. You can read more at his PPC marketing blog, PPC Without Pity. When you sign up for a pay-per-click advertising account, you might assume that you are buying your traffic directly from the search engine.
If you bid on keywords in Google AdWords, you're just getting traffic from people who search on Google.com, right? Wrong! What many people don't realize is that a significant portion of PPC traffic comes not from the search engine sites themselves, but from a network of "search partners" associated with each search engine. So what exactly is a "search... > Read more
It's been a really exciting first year for WordStream, and the WordStream team is growing (so much so that we had to move to swanky new digs to accomodate all the new hires), and we're looking to add a few more. Since most of our blog's audience is in the sales and marketing space, I thought we'd throw the job here to see if anyone's interested in applying.
And, to try to make the post a little more interesting for any of you who aren't looking to move right now (and because I'm poring over resumes and it's fresh in my head) I thought I'd put out a few tips that will help get you hired the next time you go to look for work (or at least would if you were applying for a job with the WordStream marketing team). How to Get a Job in Search Marketing (and Other Industries/Disciplines) We'll sta... > Read more
As a long-time PPC manager, one of my biggest pet peeves is automation for the sake of automation. Yes, we’re all looking to save some time and make our processes more efficient. But efficiency will only benefit you if it means you are still getting great results from your pay-per-click campaigns! For a long time I naively avoided bid management tools or anything that “stank” of blind automation.
Then Google AdWords went and created Conversion Optimizer, which switches the bidding process from cost-per-click (CPC) to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). Not only that, but it automates keyword level bids. With some trepidation on my part, I decided to give Conversion Optimizer a shot and I haven’t looked back since! You still pay per click, but you no longer need to adjust your bids manually... > Read more
Repeat after me. This year, I resolve to... 1. Get More Organized Is your idea of "keyword research" just a bunch of keywords jammed into in a spreadsheet? Effective keyword organization and keyword management is a foundational component of paid and organic search marketing. In PPC, it means grouping together similar keywords and matching them with targeted ad text and landing pages.
And in SEO, it means effectively targeting keyword niches in order to create and link together original themed content about specific topics, which in turn are more likely to rank highly for targeted organic searches. Start the new year off with strong organizational footing by checking out our Definitive Guide to Keyword Organization. 2. Lose Weight Trim the fat from your PPC campaigns! Negative keyword disc... > Read more
In 2009, the scientific community treated search and social media marketers to what seemed like a never-ending supply of meaty and game-changing research projects, covering everything from information retrieval, to personalized search, to integrated SERP analysis, to studying user behavior on social networks.
I decided to compile and share a list of my favorite Search and Social Media Marketing Research Projects of 2009. Hopefully, these research papers will inform and inspire your marketing efforts going into 2010.By the way, if after reading all the papers on this list you find that you're jonesing for more, here are two great resources for marketers to find research papers on social media marketing and search engine marketing:Google ScholarYahoo ResearchVideo LecturesSo fire up your neu... > Read more
So despite claims of ditching the little green pixel bar, Google has once again updated their Tool Bar PageRank (TBPR) about an hour ago, at 8 p.m. on December 30, 2009. I noticed the change immediately when I was doing a little WordStream brand searching and saw in the SERPs that we'd jumped from a PR5 to a robust PR6.
The change literally took place before my eyes. One minute we were PR5, then next search: BOOM! PR6. Totally geeky, I know, but my heart skipped a beat. The actual SEO for Firefox Toolbar has yet to update though. It's still reading PR5, but I'm sure that will change by tomorrow. I'm also seeing changes across many of my sites, all for the better, which is a nice way to kick off 2010. By my count, this is the sixth and final update for 2009, with the last PageRank update oc... > Read more
Since we launched the WordStream blog earlier this year, what follows is not merely a list of our top posts of the year. These are our greatest hits of all time. (Cue Kanye joke, for nostalgic value – it's so 2009.) So pour yourself a glass of champagne and revisit our top 10 most popular and best loved blog posts ever: SEO Title Tag Formulas: How to Create High-Performance Title Tags – We all know how important good titles are for SEO.
This post – apparently our most useful post ever! – outlines a systematic strategy for creating strong title tags. Find the Unfindable: 12 Ways to Find Anyone's Personal Email Address – Ken appealed to the stalker in all of you with these tips and tricks for tracking down personal contact info. Top SEO College Websites 2009 &... > Read more
My childhood memories of the days after Christmas are bleak and dark: the incredible letdown of all that anticipation, the pressure to actually use the new toys and wear the new clothes as opposed to simply gazing upon them in a shining pile of potentiality. The day after Christmas was no less depressing this year; I spent most of it at the airport in El Paso, waiting in an unmoving line to rebook my flight which was delayed by 8+ hours.
(Note to self: Never, ever book a connecting flight through O'Hare in December. Note to United: Damn you, United!) But late December does bring some good things—like a little light through the windows when I wake up in the morning (though, as my boyfriend is fond of reminding/tormenting me, "As the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to stre... > Read more
The following is a guest post by Evan Saks, founder and president of Lungfish Communications. PPC advertisers looking for the best value in search would be well-advised to follow these three steps: search, serch, and seacrh again! One of the wonders of Google is its automatic spelling correction.
Search for the term “Ipod” and Google will return results including text ads from Target, Bose, MacMall, Amazon, AOL, Overstock, and others. Apple gets top position, but it’s a crowded field with plenty of others clamoring for attention. Now search for “ipdo” and Apple’s sponsored link will appear in the first position. And also in the last position. Because it’s all alone, with no other competitive ads. Apple is presumably paying a miniscule... > Read more
With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted to take a break from my hectic holiday shopping schedule (ah, who am I kidding...my wife does all the Christmas shopping, even for herself) to see which toy companies have killer SEO'd websites as part of our ongoing series, Top SEO Websites. So I made this "top toy keywords" list and I've checked it twice.
I'm gonna' find out whose SEO is naughty and whose is nice. Okay, okay, cheesy Xmas parody aside, there are definitely some surprises on this list of Top SEO Toy Websites, which includes one very popular toy company that really Scrooged on the optimization this year and deserve a big, honking lump of coal in their stockings. Wondering who it is? Read on and find out. Top SEO Toy Websites: SERP Analysis Process My process for deter... > Read more
Yesterday I talked about using the Free Keyword Grouper to plot out a structure for a new website. Today I'd like to show you how to use our other new tool, the Free Keyword Niche Finder, to quickly set up a PPC campaign. We believe that a high Quality Score is the key to an effective, cost-efficient pay-per-click campaign, and that a well-organized campaign structure is the key to securing high Quality Scores.
Here's how the new tool can help you get there. First, just enter a keyword. The Free Keyword Niche Finder is a keyword suggestion tool and keyword grouping tool in one. Just enter a keyword, and you'll get back extensive, relevant suggestions, but instead of a scattered list, the results are organized into related groupings. Let's use the perfume store example again: Similar to th... > Read more
When you're launching a new website (or doing a site redesign) it's vital to take SEO into account. From square one, you should do everything you can to make sure that the people interested in what you offer will be able to find you. And most people will be looking via search engines. There's an endless list of things you can do to optimize a website for search engines, but at a basic level, SEO-friendly site design is user-friendly site design.
It's important to create a site that: Is logically structured Incorporates keyword research to ensure relevance to your audience Is easily navigable from both the home page and deep pages You can actually use our new Free Keyword Grouper to start planning out the structure—or information architecture—of your new website. Here's how: S... > Read more
Well well well, if it isn't Friday once again. Since next Friday is Christmas, and the following is New Year's Day, this is my last Friday roundup of the year (and decade!). And I'd like to use it to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped us spread the word about our new free tools, the Keyword Niche Finder and the Free Keyword Grouper.
Here's a roundup of all the coverage around the Web: On Search Engine People, Terry Van Horne talks about getting back to the "roots of SEO" with keyword research, calling the Keyword Niche Finder "simply one of the best tools I've seen for quite some time." On PPC-Advice, Garry Przyklenk did a great write-up of these new "smart" tools: "The long tail is highly difficult to optimize, especially in SEO because, as the name suggests, the long tail is extremel... > Read more
We just posted a new guide on WordStream.com - The Definitive Guide to Keyword Organization: Build a Foundation for Search Marketing Success. This guide walks you through the benefits and process for organizing your keywords for both pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO).
Here are a few of the topics from the Keyword Organization guide: Keyword organization can be applied across all of your internet marketing channels and provide a roadmap to PPC campaign and website structures. Improve Quality Score and lower your PPC costs. Gain insights into ongoing content creation and information architecture changes for SEO. Learn how to organize your keywords and utilize free tools from WordStream in that process. Happy reading and good luck cleaning up you... > Read more
Today WordStream has launched two new, powerful, patented, and totally FREE keyword suggestion tools. The Free Keyword Niche Finder – To use this tool, just enter a keyword and get back structured pockets of keyword suggestions ready to use in paid and organic search marketing campaigns.
The Free Keyword Grouper – Drop in a list of keywords or analytic data and this tool segments your keywords into tightly related semantic groupings. I'd like to talk a little about why we created these tools and why I believe that the future of keyword research for both pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization will involve thinking of keywords in terms of niches, rather than individual keywords. What Is a Keyword Niche? A keyword niche (or keyword grouping), as oppo... > Read more
It was another big week at the Googleplex. (This opener is starting to feel like the Friday roundup equivalent of "Once upon a time.") The "search giant" made about a jillion announcements—I think Google has decided to mimic Bing's ever-changing homepage image by adding a new feature every day. (Ooh, fade-in buttons! But why!) Some of these announcements had real implications for search marketers—particularly integration of real-time search and the launch of "universal personalized search," which means, in effect, there's no "real" ranking, no official SERP; like Google's homepage of late, it's always different.
(Of course, one could argue that with geo and time data incorporated it was always different anyway …) The search community is divided on the significance of personalized sea... > Read more
A lot of people have been writing interesting stuff and trying to get a feel for what's going on with Google's new real time search feature. It seems that Google is using two key factors in determing what does (and doesn't) get a real-time SERP box: Query Type - This is standard operating procedure for blended search.
Google looks at query type in determining when and how aggresively to integrate things like news, video, etc. Twitter Activity - This is the interesting piece, for me: it looks like Google is monitoring (via API or possibly by crawling) the activity of certain terms across Twitter, and integrating twitter results based on the amount of activity they see on Twitter. My methods for arriving at this conclusion are far from scientific, but it makes sense and I'll explain why I t... > Read more
Okay, so I've been running my share of real time SERP testing recently to get an idea how this may or may not impact SEO. As expected, others in search have been doing much the same with some very funny (yet scary) results. But nothing concerned me more than what I found last night. I was doing a branded query for WordStream to see what if anything was being integrated into our real time search results and here's what I find: So the WordStream home page was pushed out of the first position for our branded query in favor of some random RTs from Twitter that are totally unrelated to the WordStream brand.
I was pretty ticked when I saw this. The reputation management implications are huge if this is what Google has in store for brands. I mean, it's one thing to integrate real time resu... > Read more
To be an effective and successful SEO, it's imperative that you're always testing, testing, testing. Why? Well, for starters, the variables that comprise and dictate the SERPs are totally out of our control. How do you know what truly works unless you test? Another reason is that's it's very unlikely you'll ever run into a search engineer from Google at a bar who's so hammered that he reveals Google's ranking algo to you.
But to be more specific, continuous testing is valuable and necessary because: Algorithms are constantly being updated, so what worked yesterday may not work today Without evidence or cold hard facts, you're operating blindly Every test you conduct adds to your knowledge base There's a lot of misinformation and SEO myths, so you can't believe in and rely on everything yo... > Read more
Ari Ozick, a friend of WordStream and a great contributor to the SEO Book forums, is launching a new SEO guide soon: The Contrarian Guide to E-Commerce SEO. We got a sneak peak at the guide and it's got a ton of advanced information for "e-commerce site owners and marketing managers who want the nitty gritty on SEO, and have the resources to drive their SEO efforts.
" You can sign up now on Ari's site to get on the waiting list for the guide. We'll do a more in-depth review when it becomes publicly available. ... > Read more
The following is a guest post by John Lewis, one of WordStream's client services representatives. John helps customers overcome challenges and hone PPC performance. Pay-per-click marketing is a continual process and there are always ways to expand your presence and improve performance. The following are five ways you can explore different PPC opportunities even after you have thoroughly segmented your keywords into an effective structure: 1.
Advertise on the content network: A good form of spreading your brand name to a relevant audience. Select verticals of websites that are related to your product to reach out to the most qualified audience. A study conducted by Forrester indicates that display advertising in the content network increases brand awareness and results in higher click-thro... > Read more
Nominations are up for Invesp's top 100 online marketers of the year, and Larry Kim is among the nominees! Larry is WordStream's founder and VP of product development; he's a believer in the power of search as a marketing tool and has always played a big role in our Web marketing efforts. He's in the company of many great marketers and friends of WordStream, including Aaron Wall, David Szetela, Debra Mastaler, Eric Enge, Manoj Jasra, and Michael Gray.
But we hope you'll vote for Larry! Voting is open until midnight on December 13. ... > Read more
It's something you hear over and over again from SEOs: Anchor text matters. Chris Brogan relayed this familiar advice this week in a post on decisions we make as bloggers: By the way, HOW you link to something matters. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it Chris’s blog, then you’re telling Google that people searching for “Chris’s blog” might want chrisbrogan.
com. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it social media resources or social media strategy or whatever (frankly, I’ve never known what to bother ranking for in search results), then you are telling Google that people searching for social media whatever might want to find my blog. So in choosing the words for the link text, you’re also making decisions. Aside: It took me FOREVER to find where I'd read this a... > Read more
Okay. I admit it. I'm a big ole' search geek. My life pretty much revolves around search. I mainly read search marketing blogs, have a SEO consulting biz on the side, and work full time for WordStream, where I'm surrounded by other search marketers all day, and we sell search marketing tools to members of the search marketing industry.
So my search geekiness should come as no surprise. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to create a list and share some of the truly nerdy search stuff I’ve done that makes me an uber geek. Plus, this should help anyone who's on the fence, wondering if they are or aren't a search geek too. Because if you've ever done any of these things, then well... You Know You’re a Search Geek if... You're impressed by domain names When we moved into our new office last ... > Read more
This is a guest post by Terry Van Horne. Terry is the founder of SeoPros and a 15-year veteran of Web development, currently working out of his consulting and development firm International Website Builders. Terry's interests are primarily the socialization of search and analysis of social Web traffic and applications like Twitter.
There is a faction in the industry pushing SEOs toward developing websites with the main emphasis being search engine rankings. Sorry, last I looked search engines don't buy things—people do! Your target audience has been lost when you focus primarily on search engines. It seems to me, especially where links are concerned, SEOs have become search-engine-centric. I was discussing a great site I'd found with some SEOs. One piped up and said, "Site is us... > Read more
Julie Joyce is the cofounder and director of operations at the link development firm Link Fish Media, Inc. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, Link Fish Media specializes in building links for the most competitive industries. On the Link Fish site, you talk about the importance of "managing your links." What does link management entail? Oh dear, you looked at that site? Ha! We've ignored it, we're trying to agree on how to redo it, and generally I just can't bear to look at it.
OK, so link management ... Link management is taking an active interest in your links, basically. It's understanding your link profile with the recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach will work about as well as it would with actual human beings being managed. There will be great links that send tons of qualified ... > Read more